-CSO Working Group on Land Rights Advise President Weah
The Civil Society Organization working group on Land Rights, a conglomeration of 30 CSO groups yesterday urged President George Weah to appoint the chairman of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) with integrity to replace Dr. Othello Brandy who just resigned his post.
The CSOs said the president’s choice should be in compliance with the LLA Act, which, according to them, calls for the appointment of the chairman who should be of unquestioned integrity with the requisite training and experience in a discipline and occupation related to one or more mandate areas of the authority.’
In December 2018, Dr. Brandy, whose tenured position expires in 2020, submitted his letter of resignation, asking the president to allow him to retire “due to illness.” In the letter, which was accepted by Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, on behalf of the President, Dr. Brandy said that he would remain in office up to January 31, 2019.
Speaking at a news conference, Madam Roselyn Korleh, communication officer of the Rights and Rice Foundation said, that the appointment of the chairman of the LLA is an event of major significance in the protection and security of tenure rights of Liberians, as such people not schooled in that area is not qualified to head the authority.
Madam Korleh said though the president has the right under the Constitution to appoint anyone of his choice to an appointed position if it comes to the LLA, she believes it should be different under the act that created the authority.
“Must be a candidate that has the requisite technical skill, conscientious, integrity and independence necessary to tackle the challenges of implementing the historical Land Rights Act,” Korleh maintained.
She said, they recommended to President Weah for expeditious passage of the Land Rights Act. “We are therefore assured that the president would work with the relevant stakeholders, including the CSO Working Group on the Land Rights Reform to identify prospective candidates that meet sufficient qualifications to spearhead Liberia’s long quest at the just ended land reform.”
On the efforts of Dr. Brandy, Madam Korleh said, he and his team of commissioners demonstrated a high degree of leadership during the drafting of the Land Rights Policy that is now the Land Rights Act.
“We acknowledge the inclusive process in which Brandy ran the then Land Commission that is now Liberia Land Authority up to his resignation, allowing for communities and civil society actors to contribute to the different process,” Madam Korleh indicated.
According to the 2018-2019 national budget, only US$1,549,373 has been appropriated to the LLA by the Government of Liberia, not more than 20 percent, with the rest given by the donor community. The amount generated from the donor community is more than US$6 million each year.
Dr. Brandy recently told the Daily Observer that Liberia continues to experience huge land conflicts in Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba, Bong, and Grand Bassa counties as these are the “red zones” of land conflicts in the country. This assertion comes against the current backdrop of a spate of land-related conflicts which appear to be on the increase.
Dr. Brandy, who joined LLA in 2008, said Liberia is overwhelmed with land cases, indicating that the rural communities are also experiencing the problem, especially those involving boundary disputes between clans.
“Margibi is seriously overwhelmed with land cases, including Duazohn community. It is considered as the corridor of land problems in Liberia. Marshall and Todee have many land cases ranging from double sales to fake ownership. Bong, Nimba, and Montserrado continue to have more cases,” he said.
“Nothing about the land issue is small, as the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) laid-out procedures are now in place to resolve land conflicts,” Dr. Brandy said.